Websites vs. Integrated Websites (Part 2 of 3)

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Posted by: briansittley Comments: 0 0 Post Date: March 9, 2010

In our previous post, we noted that there are websites, and then there are integrated websites.  The former are mostly informational and generally static, with (at best) rudimentary abilities to configure product choices by customers or order product in any way that is actually integrated with the back-end accounting and inventory software of the host company’s site.  Usually, an order is really just an email sent to someone at the host company, who then must re-type all that information back into the actual order processing / accounting system.

 An integrated website has a few meaningful characteristics that set it apart, and make it a lot more functional – an actual e-commerce tool that allows you to transact business.  

 Our friend David Harris, founder of web consulting and webstore developer EC Internet notes a few of the key differences in areas like managing customer information, order status, shipping information and product information.

 Today we’ll look at a simple thing like adding customers and note just a few of the key differences between an integrated and non-integrated website:

 Adding Customers – Integrated Version:

  • New customer record created automatically in accounting. A web serial number is placed in the customer record to provide an audit trail.
  • An accounting system customer number is generated automatically that matches the customer numbering system used by the company.
  • Sales person, territory, and account settings are all automatically established when the customer is added.
  • If the customer changes their contact information on the web site, the change flows down to the accounting system.
  • If you update customer information in the accounting system, then the change flows up to the web site.

 Adding Customers – NOT Integrated Version:

  • New customer record created automatically in accounting. A web serial number is placed in the customer record to provide an audit trail.
  • An accounting system customer number is generated automatically that matches the customer numbering system used by the company.
  • Sales person, territory, and account settings are all automatically established when the customer is added.
  • If the customer changes their contact information on the web site, the change flows down to the accounting system.
  • If you update customer information in the accounting system, then the change flows up to the web site.

 In our next post, we’ll look at the comparison across other types of information like products and order status, to come to a fuller appreciation of the real value of a truly integrated web solution.

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